Una is an Australian psychologist who studied at University of Sydney and qualified with the Psychology Board of Australia before moving to London in 2010. She has worked with government and community organisations, as well as in private practice, in both Australia and the UK.
We all go through periods when we feel frustrated that we’re not getting the most we want from our lives. A lucky few can turn this frustration into a sense of determination which propels them forward on a clear path. But for many of us, the path forward seems beset with seemingly impossible obstacles.
We get caught up in endless effort to solve, solve, solve our problems, going round in circles and always ending up at the same dead end. We get stuck in the same well-worn channels of thought and behaviour that get us no closer to finding a path out of the quagmire.
What we really need is a map, or at the very least some better method of navigation. And that’s what therapy is all about. It doesn’t tell you where to go, but it does provide signposts towards the best path for getting there. It can help you to avoid dead ends and prepare you for any treacherous but unavoidable terrain on the way.
The best thing about therapy is that it teaches you to learn to read the the map for yourself, so that you become your own best guide as you navigate your way through life.
Of course we are each shaped by the events and relationships we have experienced throughout our pasts, and it’s important not to trivialise that. However, understanding the past is one thing; developing practical skills that can help us move forward in the future, is quite another. Working within a CBT framework, I aim to help you do just that.
Early on in therapy we’ll be working to help you better understand your prevailing patterns of thinking and behaviour. Thought patterns all too easily become ingrained and stuck in vicious circles, but rarely, if ever, do we stop to consider our implicit assumptions about the world. The simple act of conscious examination can turn up alternative ways of thinking that quite surprise us with their simplicity and practicality. Like it’s been staring us in the face all along.
But re-evaluating our assumptions only goes so far. Real, lasting change only comes about by practicing and establishing alternative ways of responding and behaving out in the real world. So a lot of our work together will involve devising ‘behavioural experiments’ (to use the jargon) that will help take us over those humps of fear that get in the way of making effective change in our lives.
I’m inspired by the resilience of the human spirit. Witnessing a client making an important change in their lives is without a doubt a rewarding experience. But more than that—it’s the strength and courage that people find within themselves to overcome obstacles and move forward with their lives, which gives me the most joy to behold.
Image credits Georges Braque – Private Collection